May 182016
 

Vineyards and winemaking have been a part of Oregon’s history since the days of the early pioneers in the 1840s, when precious starts were carefully brought overland on the perilous journey to the “Oregon Country.” It was just over 50 years ago when Richard Sommer established HillCrest Vineyards near Roseburg that Oregon’s modern wine industry and commercial wine production got its start. Sommer, like most of Oregon’s modern era wine
producers and winemakers, was a transplant from the University of California at Davis, who defied conventional wisdom and planted Vitis vinifera grapes in cool viticulture sites. He and like-minded modern pioneers were convinced that Burgundian varieties could have greater success in Oregon than in California. In addition to traditional wines, western Oregon is home to Honeywood Winery, the oldest producing winery in Oregon.

Honeywood Winery, originally called Columbia Distilleries, had produced fruit brandies, cordials and liqueurs. Eventually they settled on making premium wines and decided a name change was in order. They also specialize in producing a wide range of fruit wines from berries, apricots, pineapple, and many other fruits.